The Champions Classic came and went with Great Britain and Michigan State both putting on spectacular performances in a great 2OT basketball game in which the ‘Cats fell just short, and the defending national champions continued their winning streak against Duke and Jon Scheyer.
In this recap, we take a look at this week’s action so far, including the Classic, UK vs. South Carolina State, the Austin Stampede and several other big wins and upsets across the country, as well as a preview of next week’s Maui and Kentucky Gonzaga, and talk about everything else cool, including but not limited to hot seats, sock puppets, Bob Huggins, Michigan State planning, and rough facts about the life of a turtle. Let’s get rolling:
Kentucky is fighting 50 Minutes with Spartans as Tshiebwe returns to the hardwood
Tuesday’s game was a magnificent performance from Kentucky, where they fought tooth and nail against Tom Izzo and a hungry phalanx of Spartans determined to turn the country’s toughest non-conference schedule into a bunch of glittering marquee victories. They came just a buzzer shot from beating Gonzaga a week ago and put UK on the wire on Tuesday, refusing to let the ‘Cats get the upper hand and responding to every last-chance play with a lightning cut and dunk to the basket. Did Kentucky make mistakes and miss a chance to win? Yes, but they also blocked a lot of shots and did a lot of things really well, so it took the Spartans two overtimes just to take the lead. On Thursday they destroyed South Carolina State at 43, so I think they’re ready to forget a loss and play with Gonzaga this weekend.
Gonzaga is flattened at the Austin rodeo
Now that was a little surprising. Sure, it was on the road, but Gonzaga hasn’t lost more than 15 points since the title game with Baylor two years ago. But Texas waved 13 threes, hit the gas and never looked back as they clinched Chris Beard’s biggest win yet, which is sure to propel them from their #11 rankings towards the cream of the crop. When Texas routinely plays opponents like this, the Big 12 better watch out.
State of Arizona wins Legends Classic
On Friday night, Arizona State won a tournament back in November, narrowly eliminating with the VCU and then defeating Michigan in a stunning performance that simply brought a trophy to the campus collection. This squad may have lost by a point at Texas Southern last week but is now 4-1 with a win over a ranked team. Every season is full of surprises.
The best of the rest:
- Louisville loses by one point again to Appalachian State when the layup was canceled on buzzer
- Murray State pulls off a big win over #24 Texas A&M that could come in handy in March
- #16 Virginia stuns #5 Baylor to advance to Sunday’s Main Event finale
Kentucky near Gonzaga
Twenty years ago, Tubby Smiths’ Cats defeated Gonzaga in Maui in the only game ever played between the two basketball giants… see you tomorrow night. Drew Timme vs. Oscar Tshiebwe, Mark Few vs. John Calipari, National Title Favorite vs. National Title Favorite – all in the fearsome backyard with the “Beware of Dogs” sign known as Spokane, Washington. Both teams started with Michigan State and suffered a loss, but which will prevail over the other on Sunday night? The entire states of Kentucky and Washington are taped onto their screens to find out.
Maui Tips Monday
The Maui Jim Maui Invitational always looks for a great eight-team field for November’s most popular tournament and this year’s will not disappoint as Arkansas, San Diego State, Creighton, Dayton, Arizona, Cincinnati, Texas Tech and… louisville?? ? Wait a minute: who invited you? Someone who didn’t see an 0-3 start coming that BBN is keen to extend to 0-6. I’m excited to see how your stay in Hawaii will go.
#16 Virginia vs. #19 Illinois for Sunday’s Main Event Championship
Tomorrow at 3pm we’ll see the conclusion of the Las Vegas Main Event as Virginia takes on Illinois in an undefeated match. I cannot imagine what a difficult week the entire University of Virginia had this week after three young men and leaders were lost to gunfire on the Cavalier Gridiron, and I have prayed for their families and the entire university several times this week. It is touching for the basketball team to defeat Baylor Friday and advance to the finals against Illinois, and I know that every Cavalier in every sport is rallying around each other and the families of those players on and off the field/court this season.
What is the “4” in Battle 4 Atlantis?
I have no idea but it makes it way cooler! This and Maui are always the two eternal Thanksgiving biggies, so they deserve big names.
A week after writing Top 25 and 1 Coaches, CBS writers write “Biggest Snubs From Top 25 and 1 Coaches”
Interesting concept: Criticize your own tips before everyone else gets a chance. Nate Oats and Buzz Williams topped the list, but honestly they all need to do a little bit more to crack the major league (though give them more time, and they will). I think they hit pretty good top 26 picks.
Until next time, let’s go cats!